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Who You Calling Anti-Social? How IT Decisions Are Influenced by Social Media

Who You Calling Anti-Social? How IT Decisions Are Influenced by Social Media
Social media is the way to IT buyers' hearts for technology vendors. / Credit: Connect image via Shutterstock

Who says the IT department is anti-social? Social networks have become the de facto source of influence in IT purchasing decisions, a new study finds.

LinkedIn released yesterday (Sept. 26) a new study, "The Social Bridge to the IT Committee," which revealed that 95 percent of IT decision makers use social media monthly for information related to their work or business.

The study, which is a follow-up to last year's study, "IT Purchasing Goes Social," focuses on how technology vendors can effectively use and take advantage of social media to drive purchasing decisions. The study illustrates how vendors can create and share relevant content that helps build long-term relationships that result in higher sales.

According to the study, establishing relationships early is a critical factor in the purchasing process, as buyers are more likely to purchase from vendors with which they have a connection. With 60 percent of buyers already being through the buyer's journey before they contact vendors, only one in six decision makers actually purchases from a new vendor, the study revealed. 

[How Engaging! Social Marketers Strive for Connections Before Sales]

The research also found that 68 percent of decision makers are open to connecting with new vendors via social media, but receiving "a lot of marketing materials" is the top reason that would deter them from making such connections. Further, 76 percent said they are ready for a conversation with vendors on social media channels.

When it comes to social media platforms, however, the study found that more than 50 percent of buyers are influenced by support and discussion forums on professional social networks. Successful vendors are also twice as likely to have engaged with buyers on LinkedIn versus other social platforms. 

The study will be the key topic of discussion at today's LinkedIn's TechConnect:13 in Menlo Park, Calif. Like the study, this one-day event focuses on how marketing leaders and decision makers can harness the power of social content to fuel conversations and create meaningful relationships. It features industry experts and speakers, who will discuss trends and the growing impact of social media on businesses.

Sara Angeles

Sara is a tech writer with a background in business and marketing. After graduating from UC Irvine, she worked as a copywriter and blogger for nonprofit organizations, tech labs and lifestyle companies. She started freelancing in 2009 and joined Business News Daily in 2013. Follow Sara Angeles on Twitter @sara_angeles.